An Hour in the Life of an ADHD Parent or Spouse
If you're an ADHD adult, you already know that even the smallest household chores can require a lot more time and effort for you to accomplish than your non-ADHD spouse. If you're not, you may have no idea what a mere hour in the life of someone struggling with this disorder may look like.
An Adult ADHD Chain of Events
Let's say your wife calls you at work and tells you that she's run out of a few essential ingredients to finish making dinner, and wonders if you could pick them up on your way home. For a non-ADHD spouse, this would be a simple matter of stopping by the supermarket, picking up the items, and delivering them to his wife.
But as an ADHD adult, you have several hurdles to clear before you even get out the door of your office. First, if you're particularly interested in what you're doing at work, you have to break your hyperfocus, tell yourself that you can pick up where you left off tomorrow, and leave yourself some sort of note or clue as to where to begin working.
Because you're so disorganized, it may take you some time to figure out how to make sure you won't lose all the work you've already done before leaving for the day. Faced with that task, you may hyperfocus on that and spend so much time making sure you'll be able to find your place tomorrow that you lose all track of time and wind up starting out for the grocery store too late. If you make it to the grocery store on time, you may forget what your wife wanted you to buy because you didn't write it down.
Instead of calling her back, you may have impulsively decided to try to remember the items she wanted by walking up and down the aisles until something jogged your memory, spending an hour wandering the aisles for what should have taken you five minutes. By the time you get home with the items, you're exhausted and frazzled from the search, your wife is angry and disappointed that you couldn't buy a few simple things, and your children are irritable, disgruntled, tired, and maybe still hungry.
Writing things down tends to go against the natural instinct of most people with ADHD because it entails paying attention. Memory experts agree, though, that the more senses you use to store something in your memory, the better you'll be able to recall it later. Write a list to increase your odds of remembering it.
After dinner, because neither you nor your wife has the energy to help the kids with their homework, they plant themselves in front of the television set and fall asleep before cracking their textbooks. The next day, the teacher calls you and wants to know why your children never complete their homework.